BMW has revealed what it describes as a “spectacular one-off” version of its new X6 wearing a Vantablack VBx2 nanostructure paint finish.
Featuring what the Munich-based firm bills as the world’s "blackest black" paint, the show car is the result of a collaboration between BMW and Surrey NanoSystems.
BMW claims its X6 is the “first and only vehicle in the world” to feature this Vantablack VBx2 paint finish.
The company explains that a surface coated in Vantablack loses its defining features to the human eye, with objects thus appearing two-dimensional. This, says the firm, can be interpreted by the brain as “staring into a hole or even a void”, making Vantablack a rather unsuitable vehicle paint finish.
For this reason, BMW says its special X6 was coated in the VBx2 variant initially developed for use in architectural and scientific applications. This coating can be sprayed on and has a one percent total hemispherical reflectance, meaning it is still considered “super black” while enabling a small amount of reflection from every angle.
“We turned down numerous requests from various automobile manufacturers in the past,” said Ben Jensen, founder and chief technical officer of Surrey NanoSystems. “It took the BMW X6 and its unique, expressive design for us to entertain the idea.”
The name Vantablack stands for "vertically aligned nano tube array" black. Each of its carbon nanotubes has a length of 14 to 50 micrometres, with a diameter of 20 nanometres, making it around 5 000 times thinner than a human hair. As a result, around a billion of these vertically aligned carbon nanotubes fit into one square centimetre. Any light striking this surface is thus almost completely absorbed rather than reflected.
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.